Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell on Sunday said shutting down the government is not conservative policy and that it would not happen again when both sides work out the final funding details in January.
"I don't think a two-week paid vacation for federal employees is conservative policy," the Kentucky lawmaker told CBS's "Face the Nation."
Recalling the Kentucky adage "There's no education in the second kick of a mule," McConnell added: "There will not be another government shutdown, you can count on that."
McConnell was credited with brokering the Senate deal that allowed the government to reopen Thursday, but was then identified in press reports of having inserted $2 billion in the agreement for a dam project on the Ohio River.
McConnell denied the funding was his earmark, but that Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California inserted the language.
"It’s a dam that sets an important inland water passage between the Mississippi and the Ohio, it's been a longstanding project," McConnell said.
"It doesn’t just benefit Kentucky, it benefits the whole inland waterway system – it is extremely important to the commerce that flows down the central part of the U.S.," McConnell said.
Host Bob Schieffer said the agreement to reopen the government plus the funding earmark "made the tea party back in Kentucky go nuts," and that his tea party-backed primary opponent, Matt Bevin, was emboldened by the move.
"I've endured millions of dollars of attack ads that's been calling me a right-wing fanatic over the years," McConnell responded.
"I think my opponents in the primary are going to have a hard time convincing Kentucky primary voters I'm some kind of liberal," McConnell said.
Citing the endorsements of tea party favorites Rand Paul, a fellow Kentucky senator, as well as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, McConnell said their own internal polling shows only 2 percent of Kentuckians consider him a liberal.
"So I think that's a pretty hard sell, and it's almost certainly going to fail," McConnell said.
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